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The Vavilov Legacy is Alive and Well

When I arrived at the National Agricultural Library just outside Washington D.C. one noon this October, a white-haired man with a commanding presence stood at the security check, impeccably dressed in an elegant suit, while his translator explained to the guard that he would be the guest of honor for an event that afternoon.
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Northern Invaders

Lately I've been paying more attention to the birds visiting my backyard feeder, and I'm sure I'm not the only one doing so. As the end of fall approaches, lots of birdwatchers in the northeastern United States begin to wonder whether the "winter finches" will appear.
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Bail-out or Build-out, Part 2

As the Presidential race nears the finish line— with the candidates and voters both gasping for air amidst the ubiquitous onslaught of commercials on everything from lawn signs to Saturday Night Live—there are no shortages of "new and improved" proposals for dealing with the current financial mess. Well, if politicians can constantly add to their repertoires, so can we.
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Rescuing Fruit Diversity

As mentioned in last week's post, Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT), of which I am founder, learned that at least seventy of the heirloom apples unique to New England that remain are so infrequently featured in nurseries, farmers markets and roadside stands that they can be considered threatened or endangered.
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Postcard from Beijing

What do Starbucks and smog have in common? Opportunity. As I walk around Beijing, the signs of the 2008 Olympics fading into memory, I am struck by the fact that every corner has a Starbucks, not to mention other ubiquitous American iconography — Sizzler, Nike, 7-11, Hummers, and CNN to name a few. I'm also struck by the fact that the smog problem remains untamed, despite efforts pre and post Olympics to reduce pollution from traffic and smokestacks. So why do these two forces — American companies and smog — have anything to do with opportunity?
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Apples of Our Eyes, Nose, and Mouths

When the leaves of New England begin to glow with crimsons, purples and golds, many of us remember that it's time for crimson, purple and gold apples to be picked, packed, sequestered in storage sheds, or processed into cider, butter, sauces or pies. Apples exemplify that taste of the fall for many of us, but just what kind of apples we taste depends upon just where exactly we live, and how well we know our neighboring orchard-keepers.

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